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Title: Second Language Acquisition of the Spanish Verb ESTAR with Adjectives
Subtitle: An Exploration of Contexts of Comparison and Immediate Experience
Written By: Daniel S. Woolsey
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in Language Acquisition 26
Description:

Unlike English, Spanish uses two verbs to express ‘to be’: ser and estar.
Though these verbs are taught early on in instruction, second language
learners struggle to acquire the differences between the two verbs,
particularly when they are used with adjectives. This struggle is due in
part to the fact that not only can the majority of adjectives be used with
both ser and estar, but also that specific meanings in the context are
highlighted by the use of one verb or the other. For example, estar may be
used to highlight a comparison of the referent with itself at another point
in time. Thus, el chico está alto ‘the boy is tall’ draws attention to the
boy’s present height in comparison with his previous height. Another
example is the use of estar to express a reaction to an immediate
experience with the referent. Therefore, el chico está alto may also
highlight a visual and immediate encounter with the boy.

The purpose of the current study is to investigate the second language
acquisition of estar in the two specific pragmatic contexts mentioned
above: (1) comparisons of the referent to itself, and (2) visual and
immediate experiences with the referent. In order to examine these contexts
effectively in learner production data, research instruments were carefully
designed to create clear pragmatic contexts and provide ways to confirm
speaker intent within ‘copula + adjective’ contexts.

Data for the present study were collected from 111 university Spanish
students at four different levels of proficiency. Participants completed a
picture description task and a contextualized preference task. Chi-square
tests and regression analyses were run for each level to examine the impact
‘comparison’ and ‘immediate experience’ had on the use of estar. Results
show that ‘comparison’ is not a predictor of estar at any level of
proficiency, while ‘immediate experience’ becomes a predictor at higher levels.

Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
Semantics
Language Acquisition
Subject Language(s): Spanish
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Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9783895865275
Pages: 442
Prices: Europe EURO 78.50